Car wash is one of the most profitable businesses in Kenya to venture into. Wherever you go, you will not fail to spot a busy car wash along the road. If you have ever thought of investing in a car wash business but don’t know how, this article will take you through the requirements to start a successful car wash business in Kenya.
Investing in a car wash business would definitely guarantee you huge returns if you do everything right. The ever-increasing number of vehicles on our roads has made the car wash business a successful venture for many entrepreneurs. These vehicles need to be cleaned regularly and this is where car wash businesses come in.
According to Ceicdata, as of 2018, Kenya had over 3.2 million vehicles. It further states that there was an average of 1.6 million newly registered vehicles in Kenya every year from the year 2004 to 2018. These figures should provide enough proof that a car wash business venture in Kenya has a huge potential.
Requirements and Tips you will need to Start a Successful Car Wash Business in Kenya
Like any other business, venturing into a car wash business has its requirements. You will need to have some of those requirements only at the beginning. Others will be needed regularly even when your car wash business is up and running.
Below is the list and detailed explanations of the requirements you will need to start a car wash business in Kenya.
1. Do Market Research
First and foremost, before you even think of anything else, you will have to conduct market research. The purpose of this is to ascertain whether opening a car wash business in a certain location will likely give you returns. This is supposed to influence your decision whether or not to start the business.
You do this by looking at whether there are similar car wash businesses in a location, the kind of services they provide, and if they satisfy their customers’ needs. The location should also be along a busy road.
Capital is a necessity when starting any kind of business. This is the money that you will need to start your car wash business. You must know the amount of money required to start it and the source. It will be easier if you already have it.
If you don’t, you can borrow loans from family and friends. You can also approach financial institutions and talk to them about your intentions to start the business. You are likely to be given a loan if your business idea is realistic.
The amount of capital you will need will depend on many factors. These are:
- Cost of the equipment like the pressure car wash machines and water tanks
- The amount of rent according to the frequency that the landlord wants it paid for example monthly, twice a year, or yearly.
- Fuel expenses, water and electricity bills
- Business permit.
3. Location of the Car Wash
The location of the car wash is one of the most important factors to consider if you want to start a car wash business that will thrive. You shouldn’t open a car wash business in just any other available location. A successful car wash business needs to be set up where the customers can easily have access.
Many car wash businesses in Kenya have been set up in public spaces along the road. Check with the local authorities whether it is okay to do that. If not, you will have to look for a space to rent. If you are financially able and there is a plot on sale that touches a busy road, buy it and set up your car wash business right there.
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4. Availability of Water Supply
A steady water supply is crucial for the success of a car wash business in Kenya. While doing your market research, make sure you choose an area where there is a sufficient steady supply of clean piped water.
Alternatively, if your chosen location has a freshwater stream nearby, that could also be an option. Just make sure it won’t cost a lot to transport the water from the stream to your car wash. Piped water supply is however the best option for your clean water supply.
5. Business Permit
Every legal business in Kenya is required to possess a business permit. To be on the safe side of the law, make sure you get it prior to the start of your car wash business operations.
A business permit is usually acquired from county offices of the respective counties. Their cost varies from one county to another.
You are usually required to apply by providing personal details, tax information, and the type of business that you want to engage in. A business permit is usually valid for one year where you will be required to renew.
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6. Water Reservoir Tanks
Water supply in many parts of the country is not reliable. To beat this, you will need tanks to store water for use when the taps are dry.
Depending on the capacity of your car wash, get water tanks that will store enough water to be used when the supply of tap water is interrupted. Do not allow your business operations to halt because of interruption of water supply.
You can get the water tanks from most hardware stores. They usually stock a wide variety of water tanks of different qualities and capacities.
7. High-Pressure Car Wash Machine
To make your customers’ cars look sparkling clean and spotless, you will need to buy a pressure car wash machine. The machine is capable of washing away even the most stubborn dirt on a car body.
They come in different forms and prices. There are electric car washing machines and others that run on petrol. On the lower end, you can get one at KSH.25,000. However, good quality, durable and strong machines would cost more than KSH.50,000.
For a start, you can buy a cheaper machine and upgrade to a better one as your carwash business grows.
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8. Brushes, Detergents, and towels
Together with car wash detergents, brushes are useful for scrubbing off stubborn dirt on the car body. Only buy those that are specially designed for washing cars. Avoid those that have too hard bristles because they will end up causing scratches on the vehicles’ bodies.
Towels are too required for drying off the water on car bodies as soon as rinsing is done.
Your car wash business will need able-bodied, reliable, and honest employees. Many unemployed youths would gladly accept your job offer without much thought.
As soon as you find them, be open with them. Tell them your rates and how you will be paying them, either per car or monthly.
It will be great if you will also be working with them. That way, you will help reduce labour costs and also monitor and supervise your employees.
Last but not least, with everything in place, put up a sign that informs your potential customers of the presence of your car wash. You can do this by simply putting up a sign at your car wash entrance that reads “Car Wash”.
Alternatively, if your tanks are raised and visible from far, paint them with the “Car Wash” sign. This will attract more customers to your business.
The above requirements to start a successful car wash business in Kenya are only general and there might be slight variants. However, if you can fulfill them, you will definitely start a car wash business that will be very successful. You should also bear in mind that a successful car wash business will depend on your hard work, determination, and wisdom.